Among the rushes of life and flurry of new Microsoft hardware and software announcements, some of us may have forgotten the silent but enduring battle concerning one of its biggest products: Office. While still just as ubiquitous, Microsoft's productivity suite now has to face fierce opposition, as cloud-based storage and collaboration becomes the new focus. The shift to a subscription-based model means that it's now all about finding allies: long-time commitment customers who embrace the whole ecosystem; the latest of which for Office 365 is the Police Department of Richland, Washington.
Helping police stay out of the office
The modern, collaborative capabilities of Office means that inefficient handwritten notes and paper documents are now things of the past. Richland's police force now make and collaborate on reports on the fly, synced to the cloud and shared through SharePoint, and use Skype for text and visual communication. Data analysis is now powered by Power BI and Microsoft's machine learning. It all sounds familiar, yet strangely futuristic.
We looked for a better way to share information so that officers could spend more time in the field and be more effective there,” - Tony Striefel, lieutenant CCIP, Professional Standards and Technology Division at the Richland Police Department.
The newfound connectivity has caused positive attitudinal changes within the workforce. Eliminating the hassle of digitizing physical notes for sharing means Richland polices are now more eager to teamwork and collaborate; side effect is much faster decision making, crime solving and citizen communication.
Assessment of situation can be made quickly through live relayed information: one notable mentioned example is sending bomb images straight from the scene for analysis. Integration with machine learning solutions also helps the police to plan budget and staff according to past cost crime level trends, putting taxpayer money to better use.
“In fact, our culture is shifting,” “We’re all communicating more—officers and others are sharing documents and getting more creative and frequent with their teamwork. Instead of one problem getting tackled by just one person, multiple people can now help evaluate and resolve issues because it’s easier to collaborate. As a result, we’re improving both the speed and quality of our responses to incidents.” - Tony Striefel, lieutenant CCIP, Professional Standards and Technology Division at the Richland Police Department.
This case is where Office's ubiquity may have helped it seize victory against other tough live competitors, chief among which is Google's offerings. While both shares similar advantages in collaboration and cloud storage, Office has unbeatable compatibility and legacy support, crucial to a technologically slow-changing area like police data management. Seamless integration with powerful cloud-based solutions in Microsoft's ecosystem may have also played to Office's favor.
Whatever the reason may be, this is another important win for Office 365 and Microsoft, and helps end the team's big year. Office's success will still push the whole ecosystem forward and bring Microsoft closer to its vision. We anticipate exciting times ahead and will keep you updated.